$500M advisor joins Wells Fargo’s RIA channel as second addition
A second Wells Fargo advisor transitioned into the firm’s newly open RIA channel, bringing with him his four-member team and $500 million in client assets.
Perry Mattern, a lifelong Wells Fargo advisor, says he opted to go independent with the bank because of the “seamless” nature of the transition and the opportunity to be a true fiduciary and upgrade the technology tools at his disposal.
“We got to the point where we wanted a pure fiduciary relationship with clients,” Mattern says.
He learned of the firm’s nascent RIA plans last year, signing on to be one of the first advisors to join it (another broker switched into the program last month). The recent government shutdown delayed Mattern’s launch; they were waiting on SEC approval, he says.
Independence has become increasingly popular with advisors. Hundreds of breakaways have exited the wirehouses in recent years to set up RIAs, sometimes with the help of specialized firms such as Dynasty Financial Partners and HighTower.
In December, Wells Fargo announced its intentions to pilot test an RIA channel, making it the first wirehouse to do so.
“We want to build a platform of products and services that is the best in the industry. We have to be open to how the model will change over the next decade,” David Kowach, president of Wells Fargo Advisors, said in an interview with Financial Planning.
Last month, the company unveiled more details: Wells Fargo wants advisors who are 100% fee-only and who have at least $100 million in client assets. Wells Fargo also partnered with TradePMR to offer a robust technology stack to advisors. The two firms have had a relationship since 2011; TradePMR works with Wells Fargo First Clearing, and the Gainesville, Florida-based firm currently offers brokerage, custodial and technology services to more than 700 advisors.
For Mattern, TradePMR’s digital tools were very attractive. Plus, creating an RIA with Wells Fargo presented the least disruptive option for clients. “They keep their same account numbers. They’re not moving assets. It’s nearly seamless,” he says.
The bank is targeting advisors with $100 million or more in assets.
The firm will test markets in a few cities next year in a bid to keep pace with a shifting wealth management landscape.
Mattern’s four-member team has transitioned 94% of client assets since officially making the move on Friday Feb. 8, he says. He credited the firm with helping make his RIA dream a reality.
“We did this completely by the book and with their assistance,” he says.
Mattern has been an advisor since 2000, when he joined Wells Fargo predecessor firm A.G. Edwards, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. His new Denver-based RIA is called Mattern Capital Management.
Wells Fargo hopes to attract existing RIAs to its new offering, executives have said. The bank is also making it available to its nearly 14,000 current advisors who operate in several business units, including an independent broker-dealer, wirehouse and bank. But there’s a catch for brokers considering jumping from Wells Fargo wirehouse to Wells Fargo RIA: they must forego any deferred compensation owed to them as part of the company’s pay plan. For big brokers and teams, that sum can be substantial.
In Mattern’s case, it was no stumbling block.
“It was something I gave up,” Mattern says, noting that his practice was among the larger ones at the wirehouse. “But it wasn’t a factor in terms of my motivations. I wanted to be in the right place to serve clients.”